Corporate social responsibility entails the integrated policy for private firms in which firms goes beyond their regulatory compliance and participate in activities that are meant to further the social good. Walmart, to a more significant extent, has gone beyond its profit realization goal and compliance to the required laws by ensuring their customers get the best experience, employees and, stakeholders and the lives of the society they operate in is much improved. This paper, therefore, highlights the critical corporate social responsibility (CSR) of Walmart, how these have impacted the community and the recommendation to achieve more and do better when it comes to CSR.
Walmart's Company Transparency
Walmart is an American retail corporation which is multinational, and it operates various chains including the discount department stores, grocery stores, and the hypermarkets. The company was founded in the year 1962 by Sam Walton and was incorporated in 1969. Walmart deals in various product lines ranging from groceries, house utensils, beverages, ready meals, house furniture, and many other products. The diversified portfolio enables customers to have a variety to choose from at an affordable price while enjoying the quality. It is the largest company by revenue and employs associates approximately 2.2 million all over the world including the 1.5 million in the US. Ethical considerations are paramount, and for many years there have been moral disputes in various media platforms and among the ones include its relation to the employees. Many of its employees' salaries and wages which are below America's poverty line in which the average income for an employee at Walmart is $20,744 in a year which is below the standard line of $22,000. Additionally, Walmart introduced wage caps which are meant hinder raising of wages for employees who are there for the long term after they attain a specified wage.
Reporting Methods and Audit of Walmart
Walmart publishes its statements annually indicating its performance in which it states the net sales and revenue generated within the period. Additionally, there are websites in a place accessible by the general public indicating how the company, for instance, manages and value its inventory at various outlets. Walmart has an audit committee in place which is appointed by the board of directors with the primary intention of assisting the board to monitor the integrity level of reporting the financial matters, the various internal control systems, and the company's compliance to legal or regulatory matters, qualification, performance and independence of the independent auditor of the company. Through all these transparency and openness is enhance (Walmart, 2016).
Ethics Leadership and Ethics Council
Since the foundation, Walmart has always been an ethically-led and value-based organization and this evident from the onset when Sam Walton asserted that moral and personal integrity form part of the basic fundamentals and it must start within us. Walmart has an ethics council department team that ensures the company abides by the legal requirements and every requirement for its continued operations. The ethics council is mainly made up of the CEO, the executive management, staff representatives and the board audit committee which ensure that the compliance mechanism are in place as this will help in improving the image of the organization. The team aims at ensuring that Walmart is corruption free, protection of employee rights and meeting the ethical standards for better delivery of services and products to their customers. The ethics team also analyzes the ethical aspects of the organizations decisions to ensure it does not infringe on other people's rights (Walmart, 2019).
Walmart enhances sustainability of the global value chain and that of their operations by working with others to ensure a lasting and significant improvement is achieved. The main sustainability goals for Walmart include creation of zero waste, operating with renewable energy which is 100% and selling of products which can sustain the environment and the resources hence creating a value chain that is sustainable (Ethical Consumer, n.d). Walmart reported that its suppliers have managed to avoid 3.46 million tons of CO2, greenhouse emission gas within the Chinese value chain. Ideally it is in Walmart's plan to work with various suppliers to ensure greenhouse gas emission is reduced hence ensuring healthy value chain. The sustainability approach involves incusing in their plan papers, glass, recycling cans and waste reduction through collecting from the community the old electronics. This can be seen in its approach in which Walmart diverted 64% in relation to their waste from landfills in the span of one year, between February 2009 and 2010 January (Melissa, 2010). Additionally, Walmart ensures that the food products sold and distributed to customers are safe for consumption and does not contain chemicals which can be harmful to human beings. These sustainable approaches are aimed at protecting the consumer and ensuring the environment they operates in is maintained (Free 2 Work, 2019).
Employment Practices - Ethical Working Conditions
Walmart's employment practices tend to be unattractive to many people since it includes inhuman practices, discrimination, and undocumented workers. The company has somehow discriminated employees and especially women and to a greater extent restrict the relationships of the employees due to the fear of unionization. Women are not involved more in managerial positions compared to their counterpart men. There is no equal pay and opportunities when it comes to promotion and payment.
Additionally, employees are paid lower salaries which is below the minimum wage rate in the US. Most employees get approximately $20,744 in a year which is below the standard line of $22,000 hence indicating how the organization does not value its employees. Another instance of unethical conduct entails the locking up of workers to clean the store overnight which is inhumane and lowers the dignity of the employees. Walmart has also failed to document the exact and real names of most workers which is unethical and contrary to the employment practices. According to the US Employment Opportunity Commission (2011), Walmart had to pay $ 27,500 to settle a lawsuit for sexual harassment on a female who was an overnight stocker in Midland stores which had been subjected to several sexual harassments. There is a conflict of interest in which Walmart associates engages in outside interests and that AP should not have any form of relationships with the associates from the same stores to make them more objective (Walmart Global Ethics, 2017).
Social Impact of Walmart and Environmental Issues
Walmart has contributed immensely to the positive developments within society as a whole. It has made a significant milestone towards ensuring 100% renewable energy, creating zero waste and creation of products which are capable of sustaining the environment and people. Additionally, Walmart has collaborated with suppliers throughout the value chain to minimize the emission of harmful gases into the atmosphere through what is known as Project Gigaton. Walmart has also advanced the support it offers when it comes to the retail opportunities throughout the sector making it easier for the frontline workers to improve their carriers. Walmart also promotes the disaster relief programs which is meant to support the community during events such as hunger and floods (Bentonville, 2018).
Conclusion and Recommendation
Corporate social responsibility is key to the general acceptance of the company in the society, and it depicts the efforts of the company to give back to society. Organizations should, therefore, take good care of their surroundings to ensure that they don't infringe on the rights of others while trying to make their profit. Organizations need to synchronize the necessity to do so in their budgets and plans and do their best to ensure they are not at loggerheads with the society within which they operate.
Bentonville, A. (2018). Walmart Highlights Economic, Societal and Environmental Progress in 2018 Global Responsibility Report Summary. Retrieved from https://news.walmart.com/2018/04/23/walmart-highlights-economic-societal-and-environmental-progress-in-2018-global-responsibility-report-summary
Ethical Consumer (n.d). Retrieved from https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/
Free 2 Work (2019). Retrieved from https://www.free2work.org/
Melissa, H. (2010, June 2). Walmart Recycles Billions of Pounds of Waste Each Year. Retrieved from https://recyclenation.com/2010/06/walmart-recycles-billions-pounds-waste-year/
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (2011, August 18). Wal-Mart Settles Sexual harassment Suit with EEOC. Retrieved from https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/8-18-11b.cfm
Walmart (2016). Walmart 2016 Global Responsibility Report. Supporting Transparency and Quality in the Products, We Sell. Retrieved from https://corporate.walmart.com/2016grr/enhancing-sustainability/promoting-product-transparency-and-quality
Walmart (2019). Legal, Compliance, and Ethics. Retrieved from https://careers.walmart.com/corporate/legal-compliance-and-ethics
Walmart Global Ethics (2017, August). Conflicts of Interest-general. Retrieved from https://www.walmartethics.com/uploadedFiles/Content/US_SOE_FAQ.pdf
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Essay on Walmart's Corporate Social Responsibility: Improving Lives Beyond Profit Realization. (2022, Dec 29). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/essay-on-walmarts-corporate-social-responsibility-improving-lives-beyond-profit-realization
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